Sunday, 19 February 2017

Leftover Rain

No hearts, no crosses
no gifts, no glyphs,
no trips, no roses,
nothing to spend
except a turn of staunchest shoulder,
and this leftover rain.
I have for you in liningskins
a flicker of red, and green
and in the pureed perfumepot
a curl of smell rising;
the deep caverns of words are still
speckled with fat ladybirds
come pick them up, feel them breathe
brush the leaves and feel them move
ever so slightly, ever so slight
loosen the hammock of strings of silk
holding this leftover rain.

It's been raining non-stop in Bahrain, the impromptu football field next to my home is flooded, the roads have been waterlogged, never seen anything like this here - pouring in the desert. Enjoyed the incessantly glisteny roads and surroundings, everything this last week came with the patina of reflections - glorious! What an amazing gift of the mundane to celebrate!

I am off most of this week - the old breathing apparatus needs some fixing - so I'm flat out and blogless, no phones, no gizmos in the hospital. But can take pen and paper in, always my loyalest and bestest of allies. I'll catch up with you as soon as I get back.  Meanwhile, stay well and have the loveliest of weeks!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Leftover Lives : Write...Edit...Publish...Feb 2017

Hello WEPers

It’s a brand new year at the Write...Edit...Publish... hosted by authors Denise and Yolanda, and I am beyond pleased to able to get back here! Though I have to admit that there’s nothing very brand new about my entry. 

Ever feel that a completely imaginary character has taken over your entire life?? Heba's got me by the throat these days. Remember her? Refugee, mother of 5 children, with 4 surviving when she and her husband Mahmoud found asylum in the USA?  Much as I would have preferred to write something fresh and new and romantic, I mean, Back of the Drawer, c’mon! It’s practically sitting up on its hind legs begging a juicy romantic type..sigh…

Heba walked into my head coolly one morning in November after the US elections and demanded that her story be told.  So I did, for the last WEP in December, and that was that. But apparently was not. Here she is again, insistent, persistent, resistant, the universal sisterhood of women everywhere.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Leftover smoke

Because it isn’t
always a given -
the pleasures of perfume -
I have breathed you in
through my heart
and skin,
through underlying veins
and every other sense
that zithered to life
when you ambled in.

When this whole
is once again
reduced to ash and dust,
what will rise -
no part of me –
but yours first and last
a faint thread, a residue
that’s yours, and only you.

I am not very good totally terrible at the hearts and chocolate and flower type thingies, so I am going with the less spectacular, sometimes acrid even, ways of celebrating this month. The mundane, the routine, the not so noticeable that actually fill our lives with joy and beauty, as a commenter remarked in my previous post.

And I want to just quickly mention that I am back at Write...Edit...Publish... on Wednesday 15th, where the prompt is 'Back of the Drawer' and can be as Valentine-y, or not, as you want.  Here's the list, looking forward to some super fun, definitely not something I'd want to keep in the back of the drawer :)

Monday, 6 February 2017

Leftover blob

In the washing up liquid
a fastener clip snapped off
from an old plastic box lid.

I hadn’t looked at it for years
it had been with me, quietly
storing condiments and candied fruit
like treasures, like secrets.

I examined it again closely today
and the seal was intact
three other clips worked
it could still hold its magic
it would serve its purpose.

At the base was a rough grainy patch
under my finger - a small leftover blob
of glue from the long-ago stripped tag
that no-one had managed to scrub off;
a fine mesh of accumulated dust clung to it
much like time does to love.

Well, it's February. Red heart time. Which I propose to observe in my own way, as I do most years. I'm going to shun the explicit, the dramatic, the OTT and embrace the mundane.  Much poetry in the mundane, I have only to look for it. And. Pay. Attention.  

Monday, 30 January 2017

That silhouette is a little familiar

When the panic is a blinding red haze,
and the hour flaps like a hollow windsock -
the meanings stand out, crisp, articulate,
above the din and win and lose of days,
in dark silhouette against empty talk.

I’ve recognised the meaning of happiness
from its outline, from a flimsy shadow,
its features indistinct against the wash
and thresh of light, but clear nevertheless
its final form, though the face didn’t show.

I have known it mostly by its absence,
the deeper when the cut’s been the sharpest.
When grief has sliced me small and wide open
I’ve felt it keen within touching distance,
mere feet away, a still shadow at rest.

And in that flare of time I’ve been content
to see its frame and infer what it meant.

Okay, so that's 'happy' done.  January's been a tough month all round.  A good month, therefore, to explore that particular theme. 

February is a Write…Edit…Publish month, sign up's on the 1st. Here are the challenges for 2017, must get thinking soon.  Back of the drawer - might be a good idea to actually pull one open and see what lurks there…who knows where that might lead...



Monday, 23 January 2017

Thirteen ways of happy


A dewdrop on a blade
and fisheyed reflections
of the entire space


A collapsed chrysalis -
the empty casings
of vast possibilities


One incomplete sentence
and the story arc
connecting the silence


Coffeefroth that mimicked
hearts before dispersing
as the drinker blinked


The absence of full stops
and caps, slow ripening
garbage smell echoes crops


Loosened rhymes jangling
like change in small pockets

of an early morning


Threads of smoke-mist
over the skyline, cities stretching
themselves awake


Darkness and milky moonlight
the river stumbles on its way
to silver


A fort like a forest canopy
a single tree where
thoughts can sing


The little button fruits
in pavement cracks in an
unknown neighbourhood


The wind in the eye
of a needle and through
the mane of a lion


The diamond that turns
out a pebble, speckled like
a birds egg and earth


The poems that aren’t poems
but you can’t take your
woozy mind off them

Still exploring 'happy,' and personally, nothing like the touch of old Mother Earth for that happiness fix.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Après toi le déluge?

This alone, the depths of afternoon, lunch
prepared and consumed, the repletion paired
with the emptiness of hours, offhand warmth -
somewhere in it - contentment is layered.
I know you can’t forget the avalanche
forecast for tomorrow, nothing halts midair,
not a single snowflake can be turned, changed,
persuaded to retreat or fall elsewhere -

every drop and flake reaches where it’s meant.
But today a pale faced sun lies languid
on the stubs of grass beyond, no portent
mars the skies, the road runs quiet on the grid
and streams and times are silvery, quite fluid.
No grand sweeps, happiness is a moment.

There seems to be some sort of epidemic of French titles around here, I've no idea why or where that's come from.  I do NOT speak a word of French, much as I am fascinated by French stuff (that's art and short stories and long stories and food and beverage mostly, before anyone gets any ideas...)

All this month I am trying to write 'happy' and failing generally. However, I have managed to steer clear of exclamations.  And emoticons as well.  Serious success. That's happiness enough for the time being, I can live with that.

Monday, 16 January 2017

At the Corniche

They are far out, walking the promenade;
and returning flamingos group in the bay -
the pulsing reflections of pink and grey
are an echo from sunsets past, the mud
exposed at low tide, shimmery with facades

of buildings and a too early neon ad.
A woman runs, the winds billows her robes,
tugs her scarf askew, the last sunlight probes
contours of waves and time, breathes and shreds
itself on lampposts, glow-in-the-dark keypads,

headlights, taillights, sodium yellow and red.
There are small spaces carved for fluorescent
twilight shades, the impossibly transient.
The father and son, small figures are dotted
on the grey paved concrete thread far ahead.

Content isn’t concrete, corniches, rooms;
it’s just a minute to feel the continuum.

Still trying to pin down definitions of happy and happiness. I know it when I see it - unmistakeable. Have a happy week ahead.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Bonjour Bonheur

Hello Happiness! Hello, Stranger!
I knew I’d recognise you straight off
even though we’ve never met – it’s been rough
for the longest time, yet I wonder

if you’ve had it smooth? as smooth as you’d like?
It can’t be easy putting on that smile
day after day, pick a base, decide
where to stay put, when to go; mostly life

upends the anchors when least expected.
Humans make poor hosts, their own innate drive
is to prod things. They compel you to leave.
Are you happy with being a nomad?

I at least have the thin pretence
of freedom, and love of this existence.

I don't do resolutions but I started the year with a vague sort of goal - 'minimal exclamation marks' and well, that didn't last long, did it? :) Shot to pieces ten days in.  And even when the prompt is 'happy' - yes, the real actual word - and I start out determined to write something upbeat and positive and merry..... aaargh! No pen control. So frustrating. Is it just me? :)

Maybe I should add emoticons on the minimal list too...on second thoughts...

Friday, 6 January 2017

In my house there are a hundred half-done poems

All of these poems unfinished, spaces crammed
full of half-uttered words, inert, tongue tied.
Interrupted windows, staircases jammed
with mindless tics and turns and asides,
with untaken steps to retrace, strengths untried

to fling the whole purpose away, start again.
Nothing feels it’s honed to a polished end,
tightened so well that it won’t spring open
next season, at the touch of buttons. Fattened
enough for blades. Lean enough to be deadened.

A hundred of them precarious, unravelled -
each memory in its groove wrongly filed;
some thumbsore, others ignored, mishandled.
The woods and cells and walls poorly styled,
imperfect the rhymes and rugs, unreconciled.

Nothing finds a closure in a short lifetime -
the entire house left open by a crack of rhyme.

First thing in the morning today I read about Om Puri passing away, and the title line which is from a famous Mary Oliver poem called 'Thinking of Swirler' flashed into my mind. And that line kind of ambled into this poem. A sonnet-ish form of my own, with an extra line after each quatrain. Fattened, if you like, ready for the blade.

'Each of us leaves an unfinished life.' Indeed.  Om Puri was a favourite in my cine-going days in Delhi, when I frequented the Indian Panorama at the film festivals, because they were the cheaper tickets - available for two-three rupees each.  The foreign films too of course, as many as I could afford. Om Puri was starting out those days, and rose to a major force in Indian Parallel Cinema. I remember some mesmerising performances by him - Aakrosh, Ardh Satya, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Sadgati, he was flawless in every film. 

As I left India mid-nineties, my relationship with Indian Cinema became a little distant subsequently.  I haven't watched any of his later films, but I have followed his career. Beyond saddened at his passing, and a little shaken too - has the loss of Western artistes that characterised all of 2016 somehow infected India now?? 

Mr Puri, you will be sorely missed.